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Flashing questions & Phone recommendations

Discussion in 'Page Plus Cellular' started by katiediddesig, Dec 23, 2013.

  1. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm happily with Page Plus, and I now want a better/newer phone. Primarily, I want a bigger screen and longer-lasting battery.. which seem to come on 4G phones... which I discovered means the phone has to be flashed.

    I'm generally good with computers and technology, but I know very little about flashing (yet), apart from what a few articles have explained.

    What I'm wondering, first off, is this:

    1) Does flashing affect the reliability of the phone?

    2) Does it make the phone more prone to problems?

    3) Do apps and everything work the same as a non-flashed phone?

    4) Does a flashed phone require more technical skills to use/operate? ie: Would I find myself stuck, needing to do something but no idea how to do it?

    5) I know it voids the manufacturer's warranty, but does anyone know if Square Trade cares?

    6) Would the answers to questions 1-4 change depending on the phone? The three phones that I'm looking at right now are the HTC One, the Galaxy S3, and the Galaxy Note II.

  2. argedion

    argedion The TechnoFrog

    1. NO
    2. Depending really. Some have gone into bootloops and not been able to get out but that is a rare instance.
    3. Apps are not affected by flashing
    4. NO
    5. No Clue
    6. No

    Flashing refers to installing a ROM most of the time. However you can flash Splash Screens, ROMS, Themes, Scripts, and Kernels. What you flash is up to you. There are some great reads about all this in the Forums FAQ check it out
  3. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Thanks! That is good news! Much better than I was anticipating, based on trouble threads I've found.

    So this leads me to my next questions:

    1) Does it matter whether a phone is unlocked or not? I know the older phones have to be unlocked, but I don't know if flashing unlocks them anyway.

    2) Someone on a thread somewhere said that it's easier to flash Sprint phones to the P+ network than Verizon, but I have no idea if that person knew what they were talking about. Can I get some more input on this?
  4. SulkyAndroid17

    SulkyAndroid17 Android Enthusiast

    katiediddesig likes this.
  5. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I was figuring that it's probably worth it just to pay someone to flash it... but I'd still want to be able to maintain usage of the phone myself. That's why I was asking about things working after-the-fact.

    Thanks for that link. I'm running over it, but most of it is over my head since I'm only starting to get into this.

    That's why I was asking the first questions here... it was making me wonder if I need to be able to understand all that in order to use a flashed phone without frustration.
  6. SulkyAndroid17

    SulkyAndroid17 Android Enthusiast

    After the flash, will pretty much be same as it was. The only difference is the network stuff behind the scenes. Some custom ROMs might not work if you were to flash one. You could get anything from a brick to just needing to swap out mms.apk's.
  7. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I'm not sure what you mean by this statement:
    Some custom ROMs might not work if you were to flash one.

    I'm gathering that a ROM is something that you install after the flash, but I haven't figured out if it's necessary to choose one to install (like an operating system), or if they're optional for certain options or preferences.
  8. SulkyAndroid17

    SulkyAndroid17 Android Enthusiast

    The ROM is basically the operating system and it's very much necessary. If you change to a custom ROM vs the stock factory ROM, you may encounter problems. Say that you had a Sprint Galaxy S3 and you flashed it to Page Plus. Using custom roms for the sprint version might not work correctly anymore because of the stuff you changed to get to page plus. For example, a Sprint rom's mms.apk points to a sprint server to get your multimedia messages. Using that .apk on Page Plus means you wouldn't get those kind of messages. You would need to re-install the Page Plus version of that apk.

    You shouldn't need to change ROMs to flash a phone to a different carrier. The above was just something to think about if you do decide to change ROMs. CyanogenMod is an example of a custom ROM. Just keep researching and this will all click very soon.
  9. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    That was a clear explanation... thank you for it! I'm thinking that I'll be happy with a basic ROM that allows me to use with PagePlus but doesn't mess with too much beyond that. That one you linked to looks very attractive. I'm looking for something that's going to be more trouble-free than cutting-edge at the moment.

    Does it make a difference whether I purchase a Verizon phone, a Sprint phone, or an Unlocked international version phone?

    Does it need to be unlocked or does flashing unlock it anyway?
  10. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Let's get clear on some terminology.

    Flashing refers to the act of writing to static memory within the device. That memory is referred to as "flash memory" hence the term flashing. Flashing is simply a memory write process. What you flash and where you flash it to will determine what it's function is.

    Unlocking can refer to either bootloader unlocking or carrier unlocking. These are very different things. Bootloader unlocking give you the ability to write to certain system areas of the device to replace what the manufacturer has put there. Custom recovery is usually the most frequently flashed utility to an unlocked phone. A custom recovery can give you the ability to install different ROM's (firmware) through an interface on the phone, reset the current system and make backup images of the phone for safety. (These are called nandroids). Carrier unlocking simply means entering a code to permit the phone to be used on a different network.

    ROM's are a collection of files written to a read only memory portion of the device (hence the acronym) that contain the operating system, drivers and themes for your device. Because Android is a compact mobile operating system it is developed specifically for a single device rather than a global install like a desktop OS like Windows, OS X or Linux, where drivers for all common components are included. Because of this it is VERY important to make sure any rom was developed for your exact make and model device or you could "brick" it (render it as useful as a brick). If this happens, the device will be unrecoverable.

    Root may also be necessary to install custom firmware. Rooting is gaining administrative access to the device so you can read/write/delete protected system files. This process is different from manufacturer to manufacturer and usually involves flashing an insecure kernel.

    Kernel is the part of the OS that interacts directly with the hardware.

    You may also run into people discussing the radios or baseband. While mobile devices connect to wireless networks using radios, this discussion is usually about the radio drivers. These are also very specific to your device, so it's doubly important to make sure you have compatible files.

    Hope this helps. :)
  11. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    Yes it makes a big difference.

    Verizon and Sprint are CDMA networks, while most international phones use GSM networks, as to AT&T and T-Mobile. You cannot use one on the other. I looked at Page Plus and see they are listed as CDMA devices, so you will be limited to Sprint or Verizon phones. I am assuming they are leasing bandwidth from Verizon. However, you may not be able/permitted to switch networks. That is up to the carrier. I don't know if Page Plus allows unknown devices on their network.
    funkylogik likes this.
  12. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Yes, PagePlus buys from Verizon, and it's CDMA. If you're using an older Verizon phone, you can activate it on PagePlus just by opening an account and doing the *228 thing. 4G phones, though, have to be flashed.

    I didn't realize the International ones were all GSM, though. Good to know.

    Well, it looks like I need to choose my phone. I'm leaning heavily toward toward the S3. I'm thinking the Note would be a bit too big, and while I like the look of the HTC, it doesn't seem as popular.

    I'm wondering, though, if flashing would solve my current issues with this HTC Incredible that I'm wanting to replace? (It freezes so badly that I have to take the battery out if the other line hangs up the call. If I beat them to it and hang up, then I'm okay. Even a factory reset didn't fix this, and it's driving me nuts!) Hmmmm...
  13. lunatic59

    lunatic59 Moderati ergo sum

    It could be an indicator of failing hardware. If that's the case, then no amount of flashing would fix it.
  14. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    Well, if that's the case, then getting a new phone is definitely the way to go anyway!
  15. funkylogik

    funkylogik share the love peeps ;)

    Excellent posts Lunatic mate! I can see why people get confused.
    I can say one thing for certain, when it comes to phones im so glad im outside north america. We just buy a sim-free (unlocked) phone or get it unlocked for say $15 in a lil phone repair store, put in any sim and it works.
    Im guessing this is why service prices can be so high in the US, the carriers make it really hard for competition to push the prices down by having exclusive hardware.
    That really has to change so people can get a fair deal especially when it comes to data. Providing mobile data is nowhere near as expensive as the carriers would have you believe. I read that one of the US carriers makes on average $20 pure profit, per month, per smartphone customer. Thats rediculous imo.
    Seems like more people are getting smart though and buying phones outright, not getting trapped in the subsidy thing and using virtual networks. Thats cool :)
    lunatic59 likes this.
  16. katiediddesig

    katiediddesig Lurker
    Thread Starter

    I've got some more questions if someone has a few minutes to answer.

    First... I've decided I do want the Galaxy S3, and of course I want to flash it to PagePlus (which is CDMA, since they're using Verizon towers).

    1) The variety of S3 models has got me confused. I finally went to the chart on Wikipedia. Am I correct in thinking that I should purchase a I535 (Verizon) or L710 (Sprint)? I THINK this agrees with what I've read a few other places that both Verizon and Sprint Galaxy S3s can be flashed to Page Plus.

    2) Would one be better than the other for flashing? I would think that Verizon phones would be since PP uses Verizon towers, but someone somewhere said Sprint S3s are actually easier. I don't know how knowledgeable this person was, so I'd like some 2nd/3rd opinions.

    Edited to add... I was reading the 1 star reviews on Amazon, and several people there talked about Verizon's having a locked bootloader but Sprints NOT having a locked bootloader.

    3) Can anyone recommend someone reliable to just do the flashing for me? I feel like I might be capable of figuring it out, but I'm not sure I feel like doing it. I'm comfortable with computers and website coding, but I've forgotten almost everything I used to know about DOS and I don't have tons of time available to figure things out. The one person I tried isn't responding to my emails (maybe he's on Christmas vacation, though).
  17. Slug

    Slug Check six!
    VIP Member

    Thread moved to the Page Plus Cellular sub-forum, so that other PP customers can chime in with advice/experience.
    lunatic59 likes this.
  18. micallen

    micallen Well-Known Member

    Did you ever get an S3, and did you find someone to flash it?

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